By Keith Idec
Mike Alvarado always sensed Brandon Rios had a healthy respect for him.
The undefeated junior welterweight contender expects that’ll continue throughout the promotion of their highly anticipated fight Oct. 13 in Carson, Calif., a can’t-miss, all-action brawl that already has fight fans salivating.
“People are excited,” Alvarado, 32, said. “People are like, ‘This is the fight we want to see. Take this guy out. We don’t like him.’ Brandon talks a lot, but I think he has a lot more respect for me [than other opponents].
“I think he’s really going to try to be more humble about this fight and train like he used to, which is good. I don’t want him to have any excuses. But people are like, ‘No way. Really? This fight really is going to happen?’ I’m like, ‘Hell, yeah.’ People are excited. They can’t wait to see this fight.”
Alvarado also anticipates a drama-free weigh-in Oct. 12.
Rios lost his WBA lightweight title at the scales Dec. 2, when he weighed 136½ pounds for his 135-pound championship match against England’s John Murray (31-2, 18 KOs) the next night at Madison Square Garden. The unbeaten fighter from Oxnard, Calif., came in two pounds overweight again against Cuba’s Richard Abril (17-3-1, 8 KOs), whom many thought deserved to win their 12-round fight for the then-vacant WBA lightweight crown, despite dropping a split decision April 14 in Las Vegas.
The 26-year-old Rios (30-0-1, 22 KOs) has since officially moved up to 140 pounds.
“I believe he’ll come in on weight,” said Alvarado (33-0, 23 KOs), who has been a junior welterweight for almost all of his eight-year career. “He has a lot to prove coming off his last couple fights, not making weight for his title defense, and not making weight the time after that. He has a lot to prove. Especially moving up in weight, he’s going to want to show that he’s ready, that he has made weight, that he trained hard. I believe he’ll be ready, 100 percent. That’s how I want him.”
If Rios surprises Alvarado by talking trash during the buildup toward a fight that won’t need much manufactured hype, the Thornton, Colo., resident still will wait until the bell rings to engage his opponent.
“I’m not a talker at all,” Alvarado said. “I don’t talk crap or try to get the other guy hyped up, all steamed up. I do all my talking in the ring. If he wants to run his mouth, let him run his mouth. I’m just going to do all the talking in the ring. I’m going to show him that this is a man’s game. If you want to talk, you’ve got to get in the ring and back it up.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.